Upgrading construction and demolition waste management from downcycling to recycling in the Netherlands

Chunbo Zhang, Mingming Hu*, Xining Yang, Brenda Miranda-Xicotencatl, Benjamin Sprecher, Francesco Di Maio, Xiaoyang Zhong, Arnold Tukker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Urban mining from construction and demolition waste (CDW) is highly relevant for the circular economy ambitions of the European Union (EU). Given the large volumes involved, end-of-life (EoL) concrete is identified as one of the priority streams for CDW recycling in most EU countries, but it is currently largely downcycled or even landfilled. The European projects C2CA and VEEP have proposed several cost-effective technologies to recover EoL concrete for new concrete manufacturing. To understand the potential effects of large-scale implementation of those recycling technologies on the circular construction, this study deployed static material flow analysis (MFA) for a set of EoL concrete management scenarios in the Netherlands constructed by considering the development factors in two, technological and temporal dimensions. On the technological dimension, three treatment systems for EoL concrete management, namely: business-as-usual treatment, C2CA technological system and VEEP technological system were investigated. On the temporal dimension, 2015 was selected as the reference year, representing the current situation, and 2025 as the future year for the prospective analysis. The results show that the development of cost-effective technologies has the potential to improve the share of recycling (as opposed to downcycling) in the Netherlands from around 5% in 2015 up to 22%–32% in 2025. From the academic aspect, the presented work illustrates how the temporal dimension can be included in the static MFA study to explore the potential effects in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121718
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Construction and demolition waste (CDW)
  • Downcycling
  • Material flow analysis (MFA)
  • Recycling
  • The Netherlands
  • Waste concrete


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